We’ve all seen the recent push, by our church, for more education, especially with the new BYU-I Pathway program. I actually have a lot of thoughts about this topic that I think I’ll just list below. Warning: They are random, but possibly thought-provoking.
- Thirty or so years ago, our prophets urged women to stay home and take care of their children instead of getting into the workforce. Now, they’re saying working may be necessary for a woman. What changed? (Note: this is not a question to openly bash prophets. I personally believe there is a clear reason and it proves the prophets actually saw the future.)
- Our country is a “service-based” workforce; e.g. software engineering, customer service, Internet commerce, etc. Why don’t we emphasize learning skills, home crafts, blue collar-type work in our youth programs anymore?
- Why are most of our YSAs going immediately into the workforce, instead of going on to college? How does this impact families?
Pres. Hinckley stated:
“It is not enough just to live, just to survive. It is incumbent on each of us to equip ourselves to do something worthwhile in society–to acquire more and more light so that our personal light can help illuminate a darkened world. And this is made possible through learning, through educating ourselves, through progressing and growing in both mind and spirit.”
I don’t believe formal education is the only way to be educated. Face it, many of us went through school being forced to learn in ways that were foreign to the way we could understand best. But education comes in many different forms. A better way to describe it may be to maintain the curiosity of learning.
We should all be seeking to learn new things–whatever our particular interest lies.
The Family: A Proclamation to the World states very clearly the role of a woman. She is to marry and stay home to nurture children. We’ve seen what has happened to society when this responsibility was set aside for selfish purposes. Children have been left to raise themselves. Mothers have a very important role in the home, and one of those roles is to teach their children how to be curious.
I hope there are mothers out there who are teaching their children to be curious. It’s good to ask questions. Never to be argumentative, but to always seek understanding and growth. That reminds me of the story of a poor woman who complained to a professor that she never had the opportunity to learn. So, after asking her a few questions about what she did every day, which was peeling potatoes on a brick floor, he asked her how those bricks were made. She learned how and learned much more in the process.
Sitting down and looking at a monitor for hours is what our society does now. There are many things that can be learned from the Internet, but let’s be honest, there is no better way to learn than to actually get your hands dirty. The feeling of accomplishment comes from creating a physical thing you can see and feel. New skills can be learned every day, big and small, quick, and time-consuming. There is always something new to learn that can enrich our lives, bring security to a family, and bless the lives of others. We miss out on those opportunities when we don’t hone the idea of learning skills.
We have a serious dilemma on our hands. Many of our high school graduates are not seeking more education. They enter the workforce, typically learning by on-the-job training, which is fine but limiting to their future. On the other hand, those who choose to further their education attend colleges that promote the idea that God doesn’t exist. Much of our sin-sick world comes from those who refuse education, as well as those who seek too much education.
Again, I refer to the role of a mother. A lot rests in her hands. Teaching children, when they are very young, will set them on a path. Righteous mothers can set them on the right path: to seek after spiritual learning. A mother who teaches her child to pray will open up a world of miracles for that child. A mother who teaches a child the difference between right and wrong, how to build character, and how to take accountability for choices made will do more for our society than anything else the child will encounter.
Learning is about gaining knowledge, which will stay with us through the eternities, but learning is also about wisdom, which makes eternal life even possible.